Nothing is more paralysing than speaking to people who know more than you do about the very thing you’re speaking about. Students sometimes write badly for a related reason. They write with defensive terror, knowing the person reading the essay is their tutor: the expert. It’s the person who will literally judge them! Liberate yourself by imagining your essay is a talk to a group of sympathetic peers or perhaps to colleagues from different fields from your own. These are people who want to hear from you, who want to be convinced by you, who want to walk away from your essay knowing something they never knew before, and thinking something they had never thought. Then you will relax and lose that fear of your audience.
29 November 2017